Goode v. State, A23A0200, Georgia Court of Appeals, June 5, 2023: What it Means for DUI Defense
In a recent decision, the Georgia Court of Appeals held that a police officer’s detention of a driver for a DUI investigation was unlawfully prolonged. The case, Goode v. State, is a victory for DUI defendants and sets a precedent that can be used to challenge DUI arrests in Georgia.
In Goode, the defendant was pulled over by a police officer for failing to maintain her lane of travel after being radio by another Officer that the vehicles were weaving when he passed them taking an offender to jail. The stopping officer held Goode at the scene for 30 minutes until the officer that observed the weaving could get back to the scene to investigate a DUI. The investigating DUI officer smelled alcohol on the defendant’s breath and began a DUI investigation. The officer asked the defendant to step out of the car and perform field sobriety tests. The defendant performed the tests and was arrested for DUI. Goode registered a 0.099 on the state administered breath test.
The defendant filed a motion to suppress the evidence gathered during the DUI investigation, arguing that her detention was unlawfully prolonged. The trial court denied the motion, and the defendant appealed.
The Court of Appeals held that the trial court erred in denying the motion to suppress. The court found that the officer’s detention of the defendant was unlawful because it was not reasonably necessary to complete the traffic stop. The court also found that the state failed to present any evidence to justify the continued detention of the defendant for the DUI investigation. A traffic investigation can be extended for “good cause” but the state offered no evidence at the hearing to justify the continued detention.
The Goode decision is a victory for DUI defendants because it sets a precedent that can be used to challenge DUI arrests. The purpose of a traffic stop is to address the traffic violation that warranted the stop and attend to related safety concerns. The authority for a traffic stop ends when tasks tied to the initial traffic infraction are—or reasonably should have been—completed. The decision makes it clear that police officers cannot detain drivers for DUI investigations without good cause that the driver is impaired. This means that drivers who are pulled over for traffic violations should not be subjected to DUI investigations unless the officer has a reasonable suspicion that the driver is impaired.
If you have been arrested for DUI, it is important to speak with an experienced DUI lawyer. An attorney can help you understand your rights and options and can fight to protect your freedom.
Here are some additional tips for DUI defendants:
- Do not consent to a field sobriety test. Field sobriety tests are subjective and can be used against you at trial.
- Do not answer any questions without first speaking with an attorney. Anything you say can be used against you at trial.
- The Georgia Constitution protects you from incriminating yourself with any compelled act.
- Hire an experienced DUI lawyer. An attorney can help you understand your rights and options and can fight to protect your freedom.